Melanie Ehrlich, PhD
Professor of Biochemistry and Human Genetics
Epigenetics in normal development and disease
We have been studying epigenetics since the 1970’s. In collaboration with Charles Gehrke, we published the first study demonstrating that there are tissue-specific differences in the levels of DNA methylation in humans (1982). Our lab and, independently, the lab of Bert Vogelstein were the first to publish that there are abnormalities in DNA methylation in human cancers (1983). Later, we were the first to report very frequent hypomethylation of highly repeated DNA sequences in human cancers(1998). Our findings on cancer-associated DNA hypomethylation have been confirmed by numerous laboratories. We published the first report of a vertebrate DNA-binding protein with specificity for DNA methylation (1984). We have recently been profiling genome-wide expression in myoblasts and myotubes from controls and from patients with a type of dominant muscular dystrophy (FSHD) to better understand normal and aberrant muscle formation and have uncovered the first convincing evidence for generalized dysregulation of gene expression in this disease (2011). We are currently investigating the role of epigenetics in tissue-specific gene expression by extending our studies of myoblasts and myotubes to whole-genome profiling of open chromatin (DNaseI hypersensitive sites) and DNA methylation as well as analyzing individually especially important genes with strong myogenesis-specific epigenetic marks. In addition, we are involved in a collaborative study with Garth Rauscher on the relationship between DNA methylation marks in breast cancer and racial disparities in disease outcome.
Melanie Ehrlich, Ph.D.
Hayward Genetics Center and Tulane Cancer Center
1430 Tulane Avenue, SL-31
New Orleans, LA 70112
1430 Tulane Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-988-5187 firstname.lastname@example.org